God is walking around Heaven one day, and notices a number of people in the heavenly streets who shouldn't be there. He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, "Peter, you've been remiss in your duties. You're letting in the wrong sort of people."
"Don't blame me, Lord," replied Peter. "I turn them away just like you said to. Then they go around to the back door and your mother lets them in."
August 15th we celebrate Assumption of Mary: a journey that we’re all called to walk: from here to Heaven. We didn’t celebrate this year because it falls on Saturday. This solemn feast of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950 but was celebrated in the Church from its earliest days as the Feast of the Dormition, or falling asleep of Mary. Mary received the grace to be body and soul in Heaven along with her son. Our Lord ascended into Heaven in glory; Our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven.
We know from the Bible, God created Adam and Eve in the image and likeness of God. Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” God gave us second Adam and Eve: Jesus and Mary. If we look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3:15, we read, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” God chose Mary, second Eve, in a special way to bring Jesus, the second Adam, who brings our salvation.
This weekend all readings talk about God’s love for his people and through the Israelites extend to all nations. The first reading is the third section of Isaiah. This section witnesses to the struggles and hoped-for blessings of the postexilic community now back in the homeland of Israel. Today’s reading prophet gives instruction for those who wish to live according to God’s word and covenant. Isaiah declares in the reading, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
In the Gospel, Jesus declares that salvation is extended for all nations through faith. In last Sunday's gospel reading, Peter's prayer was condensed into three words, "Lord, save me!" In today's reading the Canaanite woman's prayer is “Lord, help me.” Peter was the Lord's chief disciple, the Canaanite woman was a pagan; but their prayer was the same. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” on the other hand Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is your faith!” Both of them received his blessing.
In today's Gospel reading, however, he appeared rather reluctant to help the woman. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" meant "I was sent to help Jews, not Canaanites." To make it worse, he added "It is not fair to throw the children's food to dogs." The 'children' were the Jews, "the children of Israel." The 'dogs' were foreigners. It was a Jewish nickname for all foreigners at that time. In the end Jesus praises her faith and blesses her with healing for her daughter. Let us grow in our faith and bring us to Jesus for his blessing.